About Us

children-at-lunch; NWI No Child Hungry

About

NWI No Child Hungry

NWI No Child Hungry was created to help local students who are food-insecure.  Food-insecurity means children (and adults) may not have a reliable source to a sufficient amount of food. In our area, many students rely on the food they receive during the school week to sustain them through the weekend. 

At NWI No Child Hungry, we work to provide a more stable solution for each child in our area. We provide Buddy Bags, which help offset hunger during weekends and extended breaks. These bags are funded by our wonderful sponsors and donors.

Our mission is to fight:

children-at-lunch; NWI No Child Hungry

About

NWI No Child Hungry

NWI No Child Hungry was created to help local students who are food-insecure.  Food-insecurity means children (and adults) may not have a reliable source to a sufficient amount of food. In our area, many students rely on the food they receive during the school week to sustain them through the weekend. 

Our mission is to fight:

At NWI No Child Hungry, we work to provide a more stable solution for each child in our area. We provide Buddy Bags, which help offset hunger during weekends and extended breaks. These bags are funded by our wonderful sponsors and donors.

Save Children From Hunger

"The meaning of life is to find your gift.
The purpose of life is to give it away."

-Pablo Picasso

About

BUDDY BAGS

The Buddy Bag program helps to fight hunger! Every weekend during the school year, we provide Buddy Bags to students in need. Buddy Bags are kid-friendly sacks of food. In each bag, students get a shelf-stable breakfast, lunch, dinner, fruit cup, applesauce, sweet snack, and salty snack. 

Each student who participates in the Buddy Bag program receives food for Saturday & Sunday. This ensures each child has access to food to offset hunger throughout the weekend until the school week starts again. Children need access to secure food sources every day of the week, and we make it our mission to ensure they have that.

The Buddy Bag system is:

Our method of distribution is through each school which allows families to remain anonymous to our organization. We get numbers, not names, from the schools’ offices in order to maintain a family’s privacy.

We understand that many families struggle. This should never be shamed. Instead, we work with our local schools to foster the assistance, support, and security that local children need. We strive to keep every interaction positive and discrete so that our area children can feel safe.

Working with our sponsors, we are able to provide every Buddy Bag to our local students for free. Our goal is to provide a reliable, accessible food source for children who may not otherwise be able to access food. That’s why we keep our program at no cost to each enrolled student.

Schools are also able to join our program free of charge. We do not require any financial commitments from the local schools or families that utilize our program. Currently, we are serving schools in Southwestern Porter County and Winfield.

buddy-lunches; Buddy Bags in the back of a vehicle

About

BUDDY BAGS

The Buddy Bag program helps to fight hunger! Every weekend during the school year, we provide Buddy Bags to students in need. Buddy Bags are kid-friendly sacks of food. In each bag, students get a shelf-stable breakfast, lunch, dinner, fruit cup, applesauce, sweet snack, and salty snack. 

Each student who participates in the Buddy Bag program receives food for Saturday & Sunday. This ensures each child has access to food to offset hunger throughout the weekend until the school week starts again. Children need access to secure food sources every day of the week, and we make it our mission to ensure they have that.

buddy-lunches; Buddy Bags in the back of a vehicle

The Buddy Bag system is:

Our method of distribution is through each school which allows families to remain anonymous to our organization. We get numbers, not names, from the schools’ offices in order to maintain a family’s privacy.

We understand that many families struggle. This should never be shamed. Instead, we work with our local schools to foster the assistance, support, and security that local children need. We strive to keep every interaction positive and discrete so that our area children can feel safe.

Working with our sponsors, we are able to provide every Buddy Bag to our local students for free. Our goal is to provide a reliable, accessible food source for children who may not otherwise be able to access food. That’s why we keep our program at no cost to each enrolled student.

Schools are also able to join our program free of charge. We do not require any financial commitments from the local schools or families that utilize our program. Currently, we are serving schools in Southwestern Porter County and Winfield.

Give a man a fish

He eats for the day

Primarily, our goal is to provide a food source for local children who are food-insecure. We partner with area schools who invite students in-need into the program. Then, we give them Buddy Bags to help fight hunger on weekends and holiday breaks.

No one should ever have to go to bed hungry, especially a child. Buddy Bags help fight hunger so local children can rest easier. Throughout the weekend, Buddy Bags provide food to help offset the worries and fear associated with food insecurity.

With the help of our sponsors, we are able to provide enough food for approximately 300 students in Northwest Indiana across 12 different schools. Our impact grows year after year, and we are thankful for the opportunity that our sponsors provide.

TEACH A MAN TO FISH

He eats for a LIFETIME

While our primary task is delivering Buddy Bags to local kids, we also strive to empower local communities to start their own food assistance programs. In November 2023, we launched a new program called “Empower Forward.” We are currently working alongside two schools in Lake County to build their own Buddy Bag systems for next school year. This allows us to help more struggling students by increasing the reach of this program. While we work with them, we are providing Buddy Bags to their students with the most significant need.

We will work alongside schools and individuals in the region to bring food assistance to more and more children in Northwest Indiana. Our hope is that, by raising awareness and empowering others, we can reach even more children so that no kid has to be hungry.

We are thankful for our sponsors, who allow us to expand our reach and help more kids every year. We look forward to continued growth and a greater impact in the coming years.

MEET OUR board members

Gretchen Mercer

I am President of NWI No Child Hungry. Although I didn't realize it, I was food-insecure as a child. My parents had four mouths to feed on a low-income. We ate the food that was available for the week and when it was gone, we just "figured it out." My favorite sandwich was potato chip and mayo! My husband, Mark, & I teamed up to start this non-profit organization to help local children who are food-insecure.

mark

Mark Mercer

I am Treasurer of NWI No Child Hungry. No one should be hungry, especially children. I am a third generation Allstate Agent and part of my personal & professional goals include giving back to the community. I am passionate about helping families and fighting hunger.

hannah

Hannah Cliver

I am Vice-President of NWI No Child Hungry. My father was the sole provider for our family of six. He worked 14 hour days to put food on the table. His dedication and work ethic are what molded me into the person I am today. My family would have benefited greatly from a program like NWI No Child Hungry's Buddy Bags. I am excited to be a part of this in our community!

cheryl

Cheryl Mercer

I am Secretary of NWI No Child Hungry.  I was born in Texas but grew up in Indiana. I have lived locally in the Lakes of Four Seasons for over 40 years. I have two adult sons, Mark & Brad, who attended local schools. I dedicated my free time volunteering for the Season Soccer Club, Boosters and local Republican group. I am very passionate about the local community and serving on the board of NWI No Child Hungry. 

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